At every stage of your life, your expectations to deliver keep increasing, for instance, college requires significantly more effort from students than high school, likewise with your first job. These expectations keep increasing throughout your adult life. Work becomes more challenging, people become more demanding and life becomes more difficult. Every time the bar raises, our individual capability has to be improved a notch higher to keep pace with expected work, and that’s progress.
When there is a gap between what is expected of us to what can be delivered by us, then stress happens.
Stress is anything that alters our natural balance. When stress is present, your body and your mind must attend to it in order to return you to balance. Your body reacts to stress by releasing hormones that help you cope with the situation. This in turn takes energy away from the other functions of our brain, like thinking, or taking action. There are two different sources of stress:
External triggers, like scoring poorly in exams, or having an argument with someone, and internal triggers, like having high expectations placed on you.
However not all stress is bad, there are many instances when stress can be helpful. A fire alarm is intended to cause the stress that alerts you to avoid danger. The stress created by a deadline to finish a paper can motivate you to finish the assignment on time. But when experienced in excess, it can harm our emotional and physical health, and limit our ability to function at peak capacity.
But the good news is that, since we are responsible for bringing about much of our own stress, we can also do much to manage stress by learning and practicing specific stress-reduction strategies.
Most people talk about managing time in order to have more of what life has to offer, but it’s only in managing ourselves that we really see a difference in our lives and are able to handle any stress life throws at us. Manage yourself and other things will fall into place.
Control your environment by controlling who and what is surrounding you.
Life is like a teacup. There’s only so much “stuff” that will fit into it. If you fill your cup with the wrong stuff, then you won’t have time for the right things.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Acknowledge yourself for the good you do! Be gentle with yourself when things don’t go as you might have wanted them to. There are just some things that you can’t control.
R A Nadesan is an executive coach, behavioural and soft skills trainer with a pan India presence. He can be reached at email@example.com